Witt/Kieffer Launches Emerging Physician Leaders Recruiting Practice

Witt/Kieffer Emerging Physician Leaders Recruiting Practice Carl Fitch

January 17, 2018 – Witt/Kieffer has launched an emerging physician leaders search practice, which expands the reach and capabilities of the firm’s physician integration & leadership business. Consultant Carl Fitch is leading the practice, which will help clients in healthcare and academic medicine identify potential physician administrators and executives at all levels of their organizations.

“Today’s healthcare landscape requires a new breed of physician leaders,” said Linda Komnick, co-leader of the Witt/Kieffer physician integration & leadership practice. “The emerging physician leaders search practice helps our clients to bridge clinical and administrative medicine, supporting the recruitment of physicians still involved in their practices but devoting significant time to administration.”

Christine Mackey-Ross, also co-leader of the firm’s physician integration & leadership practice, said Mr. Fitch will play a vital role for the firm and its clients. “Strong physician leadership is an imperative for every health system or academic medical center today,” she said. “Carl’s relationships and expertise will afford our clients greater opportunity to get physician executives into their ranks who will make a lasting impact on their organization’s success.”

Mr. Fitch, who is based in Allen, TX, has focused on identifying medical directors and other physician leaders who are optimizing clinical outcomes and productivity and positioning their organizations for sustainable growth and success. He has nearly 30 years’ experience and consults with hospitals, health systems, integrated delivery systems, academic medical centers, physician group practices and other health-related organizations.

Prior to joining Witt/Kieffer, Mr. Fitch was the managing partner for THMED, a national healthcare recruiting firm providing staffing solutions for executives, physicians, nurses and other healthcare providers. Before that, he held jobs as a regional director with Cejka Search and as a recruiter with Korn Ferry. He began his recruitment career with Kaiser Permanente, where he was director of provider services and chaired the company’s recruitment and retention committee.

“The face of healthcare leadership is changing rapidly and dramatically as the Baby Boom generation ages out of their leadership positions, and network integrations and realignments continually shift the continuum of responsibilities thrust upon administrators,” said Mr. Fitch. “Witt/Kieffer’s emerging physician leaders practice will help identify and recruit new physician leaders who understand the necessity for multi-disciplinary leadership that is both clinical and administrative. Understanding these unique challenges, these leaders have the proven ability to assess and overcome such challenges in a manner that allows them to grow and successfully lead the organization.”

Witt/Kieffer has been an advisor to hospitals, health systems, academic medical centers, physician groups and other healthcare enterprises for more than 45 years. With more than 100 expert search professionals nationwide, its consultants recruit CEOs, CFOs, COOs, physician executives and many other leaders.

Witt/Kieffer Names Andrew Chastain as CEO
After leading one of the nation’s top 10 executive search firms – and the single largest specializing in healthcare, education and non-profit – Charles ‘Chuck’ W.B. Wardell stepped down from his role as CEO. Andrew P. Chastain, who has been with the firm since 1997 and served as managing partner and chairman of its healthcare practice, was named CEO.


In October, Witt/Kieffer added Bonnie Panlasigui, former chief administrative officer with Alameda Hospital in California, as a consultant in the firm’s healthcare practice. Based in Emeryville, CA, Ms. Panlasigui has vast experience as a senior executive spanning broad operations with for-profit and not-for-profit health systems. She specializes in C-suite and other high-level executive search assignments in her role with Witt/Kieffer.

This past summer, the firm named Paul Bohne and Donna Padilla as co-leads of the firm’s healthcare practice. They succeeded Andrew P. Chastain, who was promoted to CEO in March. Mr. Bohne, currently senior partner and vice chair of Witt/Kieffer’s healthcare practice, has vast expertise in working with health systems and other organizations on senior level search assignments and leadership-related consultations. He has helped lead more than 100 president/CEO searches on behalf of health systems and health-related organizations, among his more than 500 search assignments overall. Ms. Padilla, also currently senior partner and vice chair of the healthcare practice, works with healthcare boards and senior leadership teams within a variety of healthcare organizations. She has achieved market prominence serving faith-based providers and complex health systems. She has conducted 500 healthcare executive search assignments for CEOs, COOs, CFOs, CNOs and other senior leaders.

Witt/Kieffer also increased its Southwest Florida presence, with a focus on serving healthcare organizations located in and around Naples, including Fort Myers and Port Charlotte. The expansion is led by senior partners Kimberly A. Smith and Oliver B. Tomlin. They join Jena E. Abernathy, managing partner of Witt/Kieffer’s board practice, who has a long history of working with healthcare and private equity businesses across Florida in board services and economic development. Ms. Smith and Mr. Oliver have more than 25 years of experience in executive leadership and executive search within the healthcare field to area executives, hiring managers and boards of directors of hospitals, health systems and health-related entities.

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Will Schatz, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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